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Aston Martin Racing Upgrades Cars for 2016

Aston Martin Racing is upgrading its range of Vantage racing cars for 2016. Its three cars: the Vantage GTE, Vantage GT3 and Vantage GT4 feature a range of enhancements to improve their performance and durability.

The new Vantage GTE, which is used by the Aston Martin Racing works team in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), has been redesigned for the new 2016 GTE regulations. The car is currently undergoing its 2016 Balance of Performance (BOP) test with the FIA in France.

The new 2016 GTE regulations allow for significant changes to the car’s aerodynamics to increase downforce and reduce lap times. The most striking of these is the ability to fit an extended rear diffuser, which can now protrude 100mm beyond the rear of the car. The rear wing can also be extended to the same distance. At the front, the splitter has been redesigned to improve airflow under the car, to optimise the new diffuser.

“The FIA wants to increase the performance gap between GTE and GT3 and by focussing primarily on the underfloor aero, it means the cars still retain the identity of the road car,” said Dan Sayers, Aston Martin Racing technical director. “Also the focus on aero, rather than engine or mechanical changes, also means we avoid the need for extensive and costly endurance testing.”

Most of the body panels have been changed to improve the aerodynamics and there are distinctive new wing mirrors, which both improve driver visibility and the airflow over the new rear wing. All the aero and bodywork has been developed in CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) by Aston Martin Racing in conjunction with Total SIM.

From a safety viewpoint the GTE will feature the latest 8862 seat; impact foam in the driver’s door; as well as removable door glazing and a mandatory roof access hatch to aid driver extraction in an emergency.

While regulation changes have necessitated changes to the GTE, Aston Martin Racing has taken the opportunity to make enhancements to both the Vantage GT3 and Vantage GT4, which are based on the same Vantage road car chassis. Like the Vantage GTE, the Vantage GT3 and GT4 compete in performance balanced series so the focus has been on reliability, durability and performance. All the enhancements can also be fitted to existing cars.

The 2016 Vantage GT4 now features the Vantage V12 road car bonnet. This has additional vents both aiding cooling and releasing under-bonnet air pressure, improving front-end aerodynamics. The car also has the latest Aston Martin seven speed semi-automatic transmission for faster shifts and a better spread of ratios.

Aston Martin Racing is increasing the use of common parts across its range. The new Vantage GT3 now has similar four-way adjustable Bilstein dampers to those found on the GTE, for greater control and adjustment, as well as the GTE hub nose for faster and more consistent wheel changes.

Under the bonnet there is revised 6.0-litre V12 engine with new cylinder heads and camshaft, and updated oil and water radiators with improved airflow and cooling. Combined, these improve the engine efficiency and durability, as well as improving performance in high ambient temperatures and during close racing.

The 2016 GT3 drivetrain has an increased pre-load differential to improve stability and traction; a revised drop gear optimised for the latest BOP and track configurations; and a new layshaft installation for durability.

Like the Vantage GTE, the GT3 now has the latest 8862 safety seat and seat fittings.

“As both the Vantage GT3 and GT4 are already very competitive and compete in performance balanced championships, we have focussed on improving the performance and reliability in the most cost-effective areas,” said Sayers. “We already have nearly 100 GT3 and GT4 cars regularly competing so it was also important that these customers could easily add these upgrades to their existing cars.

“We have also taken the opportunity to increase the commonality of parts across the range, taking parts proven in WEC and Le Mans on the GTE and using them in the GT3, and likewise with components from the GT3 for the GT4. Not only will this improve our customer cars, but it should also allow us to pass on cost savings too.”